Ariel Henry, who became Haiti’s acting president and prime minister after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, had close contact with a prime suspect in Moise’s murder. The two stayed in close contact even after the attack, according to a New York Times report.
The president of Haiti is the head of state at the executive level. Elected by popular vote, the president cannot serve two consecutive terms. The prime minister is appointed by the president and ratified by Haiti’s National Assembly.
Phone records and interviews with Haitian officials showed that Henry spoke to Joseph Felix Badio before the assassination and after, including two calls lasting seven minutes on the morning after Moïse’s death.
Badio is a former Haitian justice ministry official who is wanted by the authorities on suspicion of organizing the attack that killed the late President Moïse.
After Henry became the Haitian prime minister following Moïse’s killing, he promised to bring the killers responsible to justice, curb violence, and usher in a period of political unity.
Investigations showed that Badio repeatedly visited Henry even as the police sought Badio in connection with the murder, according to two Haitian officials with knowledge of the investigation.
Badio went to Henry’s official residence twice, both times at night, and was able to walk unconstrained past the prime minister’s security guards, despite supposedly being on the run from the police, according to New York Times interviews.
Three Haitian officials involved in the investigation have confirmed that Henry was in touch with Badio on multiple occasions and that Henry would be a formal suspect in the investigation if he were not leading the government.
It is still unclear whether Henry, who survived an assassination attempt himself on the country’s Independence Day, helped any of the suspects or was directly involved in Moïse’s assassination.
Despite the phone records, Henry’s spokesman denied any communication between Badio and Henry after the assassination.
One of the main suspects in the investigation, Rodolphe Jaar, a Haitian businessman and former drug trafficker, shared extensive details about what he called a trusting relationship Badio had with Henry. He also admitted to helping finance and plan the assassination against Moïse.
“He is my good friend, I have full control of him,” Jaar recounted Badio telling him when Henry, a 72-year-old neurosurgeon, was named prime minister.
After Moïse’s murder, Jaar said he and Badio maintained contact and the two even shared a safe house several days after the murder. Jaar also alleged, among other claims, that Badio “sought help” from Henry to escape.
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